Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Online Church

There has been a lot of discussion over the years about "virtual" church, but up until now, the technology and broadband speeds had basically made this a non-issue. People could download sermons or give online, but not actually participate in church online. Now, however, the technology has advanced to the place where more ministries are attempting to get a foothold in virtual worlds. One of the largest online virtual communities is called Second Life, and as you can tell from the name, is a place where people can escape their first life (real life) and create a new identity.

One of the most technologically savvy churches around is Lifechurch.tv, based out of Oklahoma City, but with satellite campuses all over (I think they have 11 multi-site venues now, and they are rapidly expanding). I completely appreciate the guys at Lifechurch.tv, and I really appreciate their pastor, Craig Groeschel. I read his blog regularly (you can see the link to the right), and I just finished a great book that he wrote about keeping it real as a pastoral leader and not always trying to sound super-spiritual when we aren't. A great lesson for me to learn and process.

However, I think I have some theological issues with doing church virtually. Maybe I shouldn't if the point is to get the gospel to every person, but if a big part of doing church regularly is doing life together, doesn't a virtual world get in the way of doing authentic life together? Watch this quick NBC news clip on Lifechurch's virtual campus and see what you think. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually agree with the professor from SMU in the video clip.

You have any thoughts?


Brent said...

I can see where various electronic forms can ENHANCE relationships (for example, it keeps us in touch when we otherwise wouldn't, but that foundation is predicated on an existing relationship), but not replace them outright. The idea that you can somehow live a "virtual monasticism" away from the day-in, day-out life-on-life existence with other believers is scary to me.

I don't think that's the intent of the folks at LIfechurch, but I think it can be the end result of an individual's growth/life. So, I'm hoping that, as technology grows, they figure out how to mesh it with life together.

Danny Burch said...

Happy Belated Birthday... I miss talking to you brother